Things old people like that you can like, too

    Just like Grandma used to make. / Photo courtesy of

    Ever since “old biddy” (elderly woman) became “fly biddy” (a young youthful one), I’ve wondered about the relationship between young adults and really, really old ones. We tend to eschew anything middle-aged, such as prune juice and Talbots. But a lot of things seem to bridge that gap, and old people things are being repurposed for the college-age crowd. Don’t subscribe to AARP just yet, but check out these repurposed elderly hobbies that are socially acceptable and don’t even come from American Apparel (that’s right wraparound-sunglass and fanny-pack hipster, I’m calling you out).

    Easily one of the most stereotypical, token old-lady hobbies, cross-stitching conjures images of kittens and flowers, and cheesy catchphrases about grandmothers spelled out in little xxx’s on decorative pillows. As if having ugly (and scratchy!) throw pillows wasn’t lame enough, old ladies will sometimes frame the little bastards, which has always struck me as even more useless. But on the heels of the punk-rock knitting craze, cross-stitching is catching up. Easier to learn and less awkward to do on the El, patterns and kits are now available in hipper designs and messages. Doubt you’ll find the early bird special-crowd perusing the likes of Subversive Cross Stitch.

    Sweater vests
    A hipster kid and indie band staple, sweater vests have moved from warming the gross, lanky torsos of old men to warming the hip, lanky torsos of young ones. Where would The Redwalls and OK Go be without them?

    Bear with me on this one. While those rubber-tipped, hospital-looking gray dealies aren’t exactly taking the world by storm, there is one place where canes have flourished; a place so cool that, in emulating it, young people are picking up another old person habit on accident. That place I’m referring to is of course a pimp hand. Pretty much anything it touches turns to cool, and I’m not just talking about hos that get out of line. Come to think of it, a lot of pimp things, which end up being misguided college student things, are just redesigned old people things. Loafers, brightly-colored sport coats, tacky hats: think of your grandparents and picture that parallel, kids.

    High-waisted pants

    Photo by coutorcouture on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons.

    Seeing how good high-waisted pants looked on models and runways, and later at Urban Outfitters and on the girl next to me in art history, deluded me into thinking they were strictly a new trend. That is, until I bought a pair, and my friend looked me up and down once, shook his head, and simply said “mom jeans.” It was a horrifying revelation. They’re creeping out (as well as up) on underage behinds, and can now be found black, skinny and in all other forms of trendy and hip, but no one can deny their origins (and patented front-butt technology).

    Card games that aren’t poker
    Online poker is hugely popular and a hit among college students. But poker isn’t the biggest thing in the old-people card scene: bridge, euchre and cribbage are big hits over the hill. These games, on their own, can be a hit among young people too. For example, Dartmouth, Princeton and Yale all have bridge clubs. For those of you still wearing their sweatshirts in longing, learn when to double and when to pass and start livin’ the dream.
    Plus, any old-person game can be adapted into a young-person game by adding wanton alcohol consumption.


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